Saturday, January 26, 2008

Homesick

A friend just sent me this great link to a video about Rift Valley Academy in Kenya. Watch it, and you'll see why I loved my years there so much. RVA students are described in amazingly glowing terms on the video, and I want to echo the sentiment and say they most definitely are All That.

My first year at RVA was 1992. Just a few years before, Scott Wesley Brown came out with a song called Please Don't Send Me to Africa, a parody of someone "trying" to live for God but afraid of where His will might lead. In this person's mind, the worst-case scenario was being sent to Africa. Talking with churches and women's groups as part of the support-raising process, I remember people's eyes filling with a mixture of surprise and disbelief when I told them my prayer was the opposite: LORD, PLEASE SEND ME TO AFRICA!

If I had more time tonight, I'd explore this strange belief that God is out to make His children miserable by going far, far away to do hard, hard things they won't enjoy. Truth be told, the entire time I lived in Kenya I was overwhelmingly grateful to be there. Teaching and loving the students at RVA was one of the great joys of my life! Living in Kenya was icing on the cake. I grew up in America, but I grew deep in Africa. I wouldn't trade those wonderful years for anything.

Funny, isn't it, how music comes back to you and instantly transports you to another time and place. The music toward the beginning of this video is the tune to Kenya's national anthem which RVA's entire student body sings while gathered to raise the Kenyan flag on Friday mornings. It's as much a part of my heart as the Star Spangled Banner, and even better it's a gorgeous prayer:

(Swahili)
Ee Mungu nguvu yetu
Ilete baraka kwetu
Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi
Natukae na udugu
Amani na uhuru
Raha tupate na ustawi.


(English)
Oh God of all creation
Bless this, our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity, peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.



Oh Lord, dear Lord, let it be.

3 comments:

Marsha said...

My newest granddaughter was born in November at the missionary hospital in Kajabe. The lead missionary on my daughter and son in laws mission station sent their daughters through RVA - I believe in the late nineties. I know the last one just graduated maybe 3 years ago.

Marsha said...

I would like to add this comment. I often get asked by family, friends and aquaintances about what it's like releasing a "child" to ministry so far away. One of my favorite sayings is, "I'd rather have my children on the other side of the world and in God's will, than living next door and out of it."

koningfamily said...

I wonder when y'all will return! Hmmmm. I sort of think it's inevitable. I do hope we overlap at some point. I love you, Laura! cck